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  • Writer's picturePeter Lindstrom, Esq.

Understanding Coercion in Minnesota's Criminal Sexual Conduct Charges: A Defense Attorney's Perspective

 In the realm of criminal law, particularly in cases involving sexual conduct, the notion of coercion carries significant weight. Minnesota Statute 609.341 outlines the definition and implications of coercion in relation to criminal sexual conduct charges (otherwise known as sexual assault). As a criminal defense attorney navigating the intricacies of such cases, it's crucial to comprehend the nuances and implications of coercion.


Defining Coercion in Minnesota Law

Under Minnesota law, coercion is defined as: "use by the actor of words or circumstances that cause the complainant reasonably to fear the infliction of bodily harm upon the complainant or another, or the use by the actor of confinement, or superior size or strength, against the complainant to accomplish the act. Proof of coercion does not require proof of a specific act or threat."


From a defense attorney's perspective, one of the primary challenges lies in discerning the presence of coercion in a particular case. Unraveling the circumstances and context surrounding the alleged sexual conduct becomes imperative to construct a compelling defense strategy.


Elements of Coercion and Defense Strategies

Successfully defending against criminal sexual conduct charges involving coercion often hinges on scrutinizing the elements of the alleged coercion. Some crucial elements include:


  1. Lack of Consent: Establishing that the alleged sexual conduct was consensual is something that can defeat the criminal charges. This involves examining communication, actions, and any evidence indicating the presence of mutual agreement between the parties involved.

  2. Absence of Coercive Behavior: Challenging the assertion of coercion by presenting evidence or arguments that refute the alleged use of threats, force, or intimidation can be central to the defense. This may involve highlighting inconsistencies in the victim's statements or providing alternative explanations for the circumstances in question.

  3. Questioning the Reasonableness of Fear: Demonstrating that the alleged victim's fear of harm or restraint was unreasonable or that it wasn't directly related to the accused individual's action is something to consider when the facts don’t match up.


Navigating Complexities in Coercion Allegations

In cases involving coercion in criminal sexual conduct charges, navigating the complexities requires a thorough examination of the facts, an understanding of human behavior, and a comprehensive knowledge of Minnesota's legal statutes.



Coercion allegations in sexual assault or criminal sexual conduct charges pose significant challenges for a defense. Understanding the intricacies of Minnesota's statutes, analyzing the circumstances surrounding the alleged incident, and constructing a robust defense strategy are pivotal in safeguarding the rights of the accused. Ultimately, a successful defense against coercion allegations in criminal sexual conduct cases requires a meticulous approach, a nuanced understanding of the law, and a commitment to upholding justice.

Peter Lindstrom has been trained at the nation’s best seminar on defending sex crimes in Las Vegas, Nevada. Contact Subzero Criminal Defense and I may be able to start working on your case as soon as today. 651-248-5142. Subzero Criminal Defense provides a defense with intelligence, creativity, and grit.


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